Arguably the most influential heavy metal band of all time and pioneers of the genre, Black Sabbath had their fair share of unbelievable songs that helped define both a style and an era of music. Of course, they also had their fair share of questionable songs - especially on later albums with singers who weren't named Ozzy Osbourne.
Despite some bumps in the road, Black Sabbath was much more than their hits - and contributed some complex and layered compositions to the history of rock music that are often considered criminally underrated.
"Planet Caravan" From 1970's 'Paranoid'
Perhaps one of the most un-metal things the band ever did, "Planet Caravan" was more of a psychedelic rock song than heavy metal. It features understated vocals from Ozzy Osbourne that were recorded through a Leslie rotary speaker.
Bill Ward also played bongos on the song, which was rare and unorthodox for the typically-heavy hitting band. "Planet Caravan" is an experimental highlight of the Black Sabbath catalog.
"Supernaut" From 1974's 'Vol. 4'
One of the most loved songs in the band's early catalog, "Supernaut" opened with an interesting production choice - hi hat. The song rolled on into a monsterous riff and then segued into some of drummer Bill Ward's most impactful work.
The song isn't just beloved by fans, it was also a favorite of Frank Zappa. Zappa once cited the song in an interview when asked what he was listening to at the time.
"‘Supernaut’: Black Sabbath. I think it’s from Paranoid. I like it because I think it’s prototypical of a certain musical style, and I think it’s well done. Also, I happen to like the guitar lick that’s being played in the background," Zappa said.
"N.I.B" From 1970's 'Black Sabbath'
A song about the devil falling in love and changing his evil ways, "N.I.B." didn't stand for "Nativity in Black" as is often stated. In actuality, the song was written about Bill Ward's goatee.
The song is certainly legendary, but when stood up with their other hits it seems to be overlooked for just how trailblazing and unprecedented it was compared to what else was happening musically at the time. The band released a video of their final performance of the song when they played their farewell show in 2017.
"Children Of The Sea" From 1980's 'Heaven And Hell'
In 1980, Sabbath reemerged with a lineup that featured metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio - a dramatic lineup shift that was the result of Ozzy Osbourne's firing. It was Osbourne's own wife, Sharon, who initiated the merge with Dio and began the second coming of the rock gods.
One of the standouts from that lineup's first album, "Children of the Sea" lets Dio's famous vocal range shine while the band surrounds him with a riff-based arrangement and a melodic and fluid bassline.